Archives: Outstanding Papers

Planning for Homelessness and Addiction: The Case of Toronto with Lessons from Europe

Andrzej Celinski, 2018
Vol. 24 No. 3 ISSN 1702-3548


Toronto currently grapples with intersecting epidemics which take the form of increasing homelessness and addiction among city dwellers. The recent housing crisis and fentanyl epidemic have highlighted an urgent need to approach these issues with new and unconventional policies and strategies. The collapse of the welfare state and the rise of neoliberalism have eroded the social safety net which once may have slowed the advance of these problems. Both addiction and housing instability have led to negative outcomes for, not only the demographics in question, but as this paper will show, society at large. As such, it is necessary for our policy makers, academics and leaders to think outside the box and look for new innovative solutions to these problems. In a search for answers, this paper will look to European jurisdictions for examples of unique urban planning and government policy approaches that may be utilized with regard to both understanding and tackling issues relate to the cross between addiction and housing in Toronto.

Comparing the Experiences of Refugee Women, Unwed Mothers, Sex Workers, and Women Living with HIV Accessing Healthcare in Morocco: Narrating Citizenship and Health

Nasha Lina Khan, 2018
Vol. 24 No. 2 ISSN 1702-3548


Although research on women’s health has been conducted throughout Morocco there are still significant gaps that require our attention. This is a result of the ever changing political, physical, and social environment in Morocco and across the world. Furthermore, the majority of emerging literature from Morocco with a focus on women's health has traditionally been conducted in silos focusing on women from very specific social locations. Intersecting factors impact health for women in Morocco, and this study hopes to bridge some of the existing gaps and speak to women’s health in Morocco beyond the identity specific silos while also acknowledging nuances and differences in lived experiences amongst women. This research investigates, compares, and contrasts four groups of women and their experiences accessing healthcare, specifically: 1) unwed mothers 2) women who are HIV positive 3) sex workers and 4) Syrian refugee women. The data was collected using semi-­structured interviews and critical narrative methods. Furthermore multiple bodies of work in the fields of public health, community health, gender studies, narrative theory, and refugee and forced migration studies were examined to supplement this research. The data was coded three times using open coding and then coded using axial coding. The results of this small qualitative study illustrate that much of the previous literature provides a good foreground for research in this field, however, the results also disrupts notions perpetuated by siloed research of the past. By examining the four groups identified together, counter-­narratives are formed that illuminate new findings and challenge older ones. For instance, some studies conflated the experiences of some of the groups of women I interviewed when in fact their experiences are diverse and should be complicated. The results will be shared back with community partners, non-­governmental organizations, and published in both print and digital forms that are academic and nonacademic with the goal of enhancing health outcomes for women in Morocco.

Thinking with Thrushes: Exploring knowledge making practices in migratory songbird conservation

Seema Shenoy, 2017
Vol. 23 No. 31 ISSN 1702-3548


The wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) is a songbird that has come to symbolize the fate of Neotropical migratory birds, many species of which are reported to be rapidly declining. This paper draws from work at the intersection of political ecology and science and technology studies to explore knowledge making practices in the conservation of wood thrushes. Thinking with thrushes, its aim is to bring the theoretical concepts and accompanying vocabulary from social theory into the discourse on conservation. Drawing upon participant observation and interview material, it follows the efforts of field ecologists and conservation practitioners in southern Canada and central Costa Rica—two end points of the migratory journey of these birds. It begins by tracing the affective and embodied practices in ecological fieldwork, and goes on to examine how individual birds as objects of scientific knowledge come to be framed as, and speak for, the species as an object of conservation. By exploring these aspects, this paper shows how ecological science that informs the conservation of wood thrushes is constructed from a mix of scientific observations, technological capabilities, embodied work, material agencies, and normative values. It then locates these birds in new conservation networks in their non-breeding grounds, where narratives around biodiversity and conservation become linked to location-specific activities, such as ecotourism. The paper concludes with outlining some implications for considering these themes more carefully for knowledge making in, and the practice of, conservation.

Popular Education Praxis For Cultivating Biocultural Diversity Experiences The case of the Asociación Jardín Botánico Las Delicias: A community based-model in Colombia-South America

Sandra Leon, 2018
Vol. 24 No. 1 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)


The components of my Plan of Study (PoS)—Biocultural Diversity, Indigenous Knowledge and Popular Education—formed an interlocking triad that built the conceptual and methodological structure of my major project. This threefold strategy is represented in this project, which fulfills the objectives of my PoS.

Moving towards Meaningful Co-Governance: Engagement with First Nations in Ontario’s Great Lakes Initiatives

Jessica Lukawiecki, 2017
Vol. 23 No. 29 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)


Across Canada there has been movement towards the adoption of principles of collaboration in water governance which should in principle be more supportive of meaningful co-governance roles for Indigenous peoples. While the meaningful engagement and involvement of Indigenous peoples in decision-making has been recognized as a necessary precondition of collaborative water governance, its realization in practice has been limited. By exploring the policy process during the development and implementation of the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015 in Ontario, this paper explores the strengths and ongoing challenges of engagement processes between First Nations and colonial government in Ontario’s water governance system. Ongoing challenges that are preventing the realization of true co-governance with First Nations in Ontario’s water system are identified, including: capacity challenges, limited recognition of First Nations as rightsholders, challenges with knowledge sharing, limited engagement with First Nations at a strategic level and challenges in developing trusting relationships, amongst others. While there are indications that the relationship between First Nations and colonial governments in Ontario is moving closer towards principles of co-governance, meaningful shared governance will not be achieved without substantial learning for all parties and shifts in power structures.

Liminal Lines: Poetic Confrontations With Everyday Ableism, Racism, and Rape Culture From the Ledge

Jorge Antonio Vallejos, 2017
Vol. 23 No. 28 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)


The components of this portfolio—“Liminal Lines: Poetic Confrontations With Everyday Ableism, Racism, and Rape Culture From the Ledge” — are as follows 1. “Kuzushi”, a chapbook of poems named after the Japanese Judo term meaning to put someone off balance. In the case of this portfolio, kuzushi is used as a metaphor to decentre the oppressive forces of ableism, racism, and rape culture founded on what bell hooks calls “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy”, (personal communication 2016). 2. A talk and performance called ““What’s Wrong With Your Leg?”: Ableism, Community, and Genesis” given at the Generous Space Toronto *TBLGQ Christian Community on November 23 2017 where I ‘came out of the closet’ as a person living with a disability (Osteo-genesis Imperfecta aka brittle bones disease) in response to, and as a deconstruction and decentering of, the ableism and racism in the society and city in which I live: Toronto 3. Two essays a) “Poetry on the Edge” which explores my poetic process as a writer of colour living with a disability in a liminal state b) “Disrupting Disablement: History, Exclusion, Desire and Change” which explores the history of ableism, how it affects me, and what changes I hope comes to be.

“Liminal Lines: A Poetic Confrontation of Ableism, Racism, and Rape Culture from the Ledge” is an invitation: come along this anti-colonial exploration of systems of oppression that invade our society. Practice kuzushi—moving a structure, in this case oppressive structures, off balance—via reading and later meditating. Join the fight against three of many oppressive systems that hold back humanity: ableism, racism, and rape culture.

Intergenerational Love Song: When I say…! You say…!

Magali Meagher, 2017
Vol. 23 No. 27 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)


This paper discusses Intergenerational Love Song: When I say….! You say….!, a project I conceived and carried out in 2017 with four adult band coaches at Girls Rock Camp Toronto. Using song writing as a mode of inquiry, participants were able to reflect on their role as mentors to young people. This project sought to disrupt the ways in which band coaches at Girls Rock Camp think about the collaborative song writing process, the act of teaching and the ways in which listening is crucial to the ways in which we respond. In so doing, this project engages with broader ideas of power, dialogue and the binaries that make their way into discourses on gender and human development. This study is unique in that it brings into conversation musicology, pedagogy and girlhood studies in a grounded project that makes room for listening.

Note: It is recommended to listen to the songs in conversation while reading this project report and specifically during the sections that analyze each song.
Big Beef! Hard Life! https://girlsrocktoronto.bandcamp.com/track/rogue-emotions
(I really love this) Big Beef! Hard Life! https://soundcloud.com/magali-meagher/i-really-love-this-big-beef-hard-life/s-ZOCJ4

Complicating Queer Space in Toronto: How the Development of Toronto’s LGBTQ2I Spaces Fits within Homonormative and Homonationalist Scripts

Ryan Adamson, 2017
Vol. 23 No. 26 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)


This major paper challenges the dominance of celebratory narratives in academic literature that posit Western urban gay enclaves as beacons of social inclusivity and tolerance. This research is intended to address the reality that gay village spaces in North America, Europe and Australia were built exclusively for the benefit of middle class white gay men and continue to exclude women, queers of colour, trans and gender non-conforming individuals. Toronto is used as a case study to demonstrate how modern municipalities have appropriated LGBTQ2I identities in order to market themselves as cosmopolitan urban centres that are worthy of various forms of capital investment. The case study will also elucidate how processes of homonormativity (Duggan, 2002) and homonationalism (Puar, 2007) have been accelerated by municipal investment in gay village spaces. Three central questions guide the analysis of this case study: (1) How do cities appropriate LGBTQ2I identities to present themselves as cosmopolitan urban centres? (2) In what ways does the image of state-sponsored LGBTQ2I spaces work to exclude non-homonormative queers? (3) How can cities plan differently for the future?

Evaluating the City of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program An investigation into the environmental and economic impacts of the applied energy efficiency retrofits

Maral Jamali, 2015
Vol. 21 No. 22 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)


This research looks at Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) and evaluates the outcomes of this program. HELP is a pilot municipal program that offers a low interest loan to homeowners who are willing to undertake energy efficiency improvements. This program is unique in Toronto in that it is the first and only program that finances energy efficiency through the local improvement charges and allows repaying the loan through an additional charge on the property tax bill. This research aims to evaluate the HELP program in terms of its energy saving and GHG reduction achievements and examines the role of the program in bridging the so-called energy efficiency gap. To get a better and more accurate understanding of the program’s performance, two other energy efficiency programs, namely R.E.E.P and Enbridge HEC were introduced and compared with HELP. More specifically, the paper conducts: An impact evaluation, in which the program is evaluated in terms of its natural gas saving, electricity saving, GHG reduction, number of improvements, and Enbridge scores increase. An efficiency evaluation, in which a cost-benefit analysis is conducted and the specific NPV, IRR, ROI, total costs, and total benefits of 31 of the HELP projects are calculated. The efficiency evaluation examines the cost-effectiveness of investing in energy efficiency retrofitting through HELP from the homeowners’ point of view. The impact evaluation shows that the HELP program wasn’t able to encourage homeowners to undertake deeper energy efficiency improvements. It also indicates no significant energy saving and GHG reduction achievements for the program, when compared to the other introduced programs. The efficiency evaluation conducted in this research proves that around 71% of the HELP projects were considered cost-effective from the homeowners’ perspective, but had long payback periods. The research finally acknowledges the role of HELP in bridging the barrier of high upfront costs by assisting homeowners who were initially interested in investing in energy efficiency retrofitting. However, the study found no evidence that HELP played a role in promoting energy efficiency retrofitting as a pro-environmental behaviour among homeowners who wouldn’t consider energy retrofitting without the assistance of HELP.efficiency improvements.

Active 18 and The West Queen West Triangle: A Case Study in the Politics of "Good Planning"

Ryan Santiago, 2017
Vol. 23 No. 25 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)


This paper explores the relationship between community members and planners in Toronto as notions of “good planning” are formed, and how a prevailing interpretation of “good planning” that is born from this relationship shapes Toronto’s urban landscape. The redevelopment of Toronto’s West Queen West Triangle (WQWT) from 2005-2008, with special attention to the efforts of the community organization Active 18, is used as a case study to explore how good planning principles are differentially informed by knowledge from community members relative to professional or expert knowledge. Two main questions guide the analysis of this case study: (1) How did the efforts of Active 18 help define and interpret “good planning” policy, and (2) how do the material impacts of their efforts fulfill the expectations of “good planning” as set out during the WQWT’s redevelopment between 2005-2008?